How to Take Care of Goldfish

Proper care of Goldfish is essential to letting them live long, fulfilling lives.

Goldfish are fantastic, low-maintenance pets. Before you jump in with both feet, though, you have to know how to properly care for them so that they don’t end up in the big fishbowl in the sky.

The world’s oldest goldfish lived for 41 years, although there are no guarantees, and ordinary healthy goldfish generally live for two to three years, having them as pets requires a serious commitment. Although they’re relatively low-maintenance, they still require some care and attention.


Goldfish can be kept in a simple bowl, no air pump or filter is needed. They do very well at room temperatures, too, so you won’t need a heater. It’s important that you keep their bowl away from direct sunlight and air vents; the water temperature could change drastically, and too much sunlight contributes to an overgrowth of algae, which will make your goldfish unhealthy.

Since goldfish are notoriously messy, their water needs to be changed frequently. Each week, you should empty 20% of the water from their bowl and replace it with clean, fresh water. Every fourth week (once a month) you should transfer your goldfish to another bowl and thoroughly clean the one they live in, and this includes rinsing all of the gravel on the bottom.


Feeding goldfish is easy, they’ll eat almost anything, although in the wild they prefer vegetarian meals. A basic flake food will be more than sufficient for your goldfish. They only need to be fed twice a day, and when you do feed them, only give them what they can eat in a five-minute period.


Goldfish in the wild sometimes stay together in schools. They’ll be happy if they have a few playmates in the bowl, but mixing them with other fish isn’t always a good idea. Since goldfish are notoriously slow swimmers, they can be picked on by bigger, more aggressive fish. Most algae eaters will get along with goldfish, but be careful: if there isn’t enough algae in the tank, they’ll sometimes try to suck the slimy coating off your goldfish.

Since goldfish are so easy to care for and so much fun to watch, they make a great first pet for children or a pleasant distraction at home. By taking good care of them, you can ensure that they’ll stick around for quite a while!

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  1. This article goes against everything I have read on goldfish so far. People who truly care about keeping the fish alive for years have all said that keeping a goldfish in a bowl is cruel and ensures a short lifespan for the fish in question.

    The lifespan of a properly cared for goldfish can be 15-20 years. Keeping a goldfish in a bowl is the human equivelent of keeping a person in a box. They can live there for a while, but it isn’t comfortable and eventually could lead to an untimely death.

    The ideal situation for a goldfish is 10 gallons of water per fish and a large surface area tank for plenty of oxygen. There should be plenty of filtration and frequent partial water changes and chemical monitoring to maintain the proper balance.

    I am not an expert, but this article is misleading. Yes, goldfish may be inexpensive “pets” but they still deserve to be properly cared for and the opportunity for a long life.

  2. hi my name is shelly. i have beiing takeing care of goldfishs for 4 years.everything time one fish died been with several months.i have a 20 gl.i had 4 goldfishs.and all died within severlmonths apart. i love gold fish. right now i have a 5gl and one gold fish.i clean the aquaram very month.afer 2 days of lceaning it.the poor fish died.please help me how to take care of the goldfish

  3. New time fish owner and me and my mom went and got a gold fish from this little store called Fish in a Shak and they told me all the same stuff. I have had my Fishes for 7 years cared for in a bowl nothing has happened to them yet

  4. I just got new goldfish yesterday. So, I wanted to know how to keep them alive.

  5. thanx!

  6. agreeing with sara-seriously seems everything on this website goes alot against everything i have been told, and i’ve been doing alot of research!

  7. i dont agree wit sara because i mean come on one fish does not need a whole aquarium with 10 gallons . . i mean if you have the money go for it . . it’s like saying there has to be a mansion for every single person . but i’ve had a fish and i thank i regular fish bowl would be good . . 10 gallons and a aquarium is a waste of money if you dont have it[the money]

  8. all my damn gold fish die quickly when living in tank n i have to watch the poor innocent creatures suffer…. i dont know why the fish die. its not fair. i need help. im tired of being the cause of their deaths

  9. Lexie is right i mean like why 10 gallons per fish? thats insane.
    I have read alot of articales and they are like the same thing as this one.

    One question: when you win a fish at like a fair or watever do they usally live long or what?

  10. hey thaks I just got two goldfish yesterday and I want them to live a long time!!! Right now they’re living in a kitchen bowl cuz I have no Fish bowl and is there anywhere to get a cheap one in MI?

  11. I agree with Sarah to!! If your going to be teaching us how to take care of our damn gold fish, do it right! I dont want my fishies to die!!!

  12. if you dont have any thing nice to say DONT SAY IT

  13. I am confused! I got my fish from the fair..Will it die soon if i follow what you guys are telling me..I dunno what to do..Hes in a fish bowl now? With no rocks or anything =[

    what do i do!!

  14. i was thinking of buying gold fish and i think i will get them soon. thanx for the information.

  15. ive gotten gold fish at a fair before and they lived fine in a bowl for years untill they outgrew it. and i really dont think its like a person in a box. they have room to swim in a bowl and thats what matters right? i just got a really pretty gold fish last night at a fair and he is all alone unlike in the past when ive had fish. would it be better if he had a friend? i really like him and dont want him to die.

  16. I like your goldfish caring tips. I think I reccommend my readers to read this in conjunction to my article as well.
    From Powerpen123

  17. Thanks for the tips. Concise – quick and exactly what I was looking for when I started to search about goldfish. When I was a kid they lived forever in a bowl. I needed a refresher course! Here’s to the three new “goldfish” from the Firemen’s festival!

  18. i got my goldfish today, but it dyed in 7 hours WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. I just got two goldfish from science class. I heard both sides of the story from tank to bowl. PLEASE TELL ME! Which is the best, easy way to take care of them?

  20. bowls are not inherently evil. if you get a bowl, get one that’s good ‘n’ large, because even one little fish will need lots of water; however, you don’t want to fill the bowl up much more than half-way. this will keep the surface area large, like a rectangular tank, so that the water can be properly aerated. if the lil’ guy has plenty of room to swim around, he should be able to stir up the water on his own, giving him some good oxygen. also make sure that, regardless of what container you use, the fish has a place to hide. goldfish panic when they can’t find a hiding place and essentially give themselves heart attacks.

  21. I got my golfish today, but I’m not sure how long can a goldfish stay without food.

  22. my fish dies the day after i bought them. WHy?

  23. I got 2 gold fish last week. My tank was leaking so I had to move them in another bowl. Then I had to move them back as I fixed the tank. One of them died last night and the other is trying to survive. What can I do? I should have read this information earlier.

  24. I just finished an article about goldfish. Bowls are fine if fairly large and have 2 fish. Change the water but not all at once. In many cases the cleaner you use once a week is cause of death. Use something purchased from a supplier either online or off. Some pet store clerks are misinformed. See “Goldfish Are An Ideal First Pet” on Triond for some other info. If there is a goldfish that lived 41 years, is it in the Guiness Book of World Records? I’d really like to know. my goldfish article is easy to find published on blog. I’d love to visit your blog too if you leave the address on mine.

  25. i am thinking about getting a fish tomarrow, and i think the little fishy should have plenty of room to swim around. And if u dont have enough money for a tank, get a large bowl and fill it up abot three fourths of the way full, so he or she will have plenty of room to swim.
    And plenty of room to come up for a little air.
    i also think u can have 2 fish in 10 gallons of water.
    i also agree with steve, u should always give it a place to hide so it dose not have a heart attack.
    and i heard that if u feed it green peas ( frozen or fresh ) that it will help reduce a infection that goldfish comonly get. so have fun with ur little goldfish!!:)

  26. I just got 4 goldfish for the first time and three of them died. I don’t know what I did wrong

  27. I think this was awsome! Thanks soooo much! I had a goldfish for 3 years and it lived in a BOWL!☺ ☻ ♥ ♠ ♣ ♦ ○ ◘ •

  28. i am trying to convince my mom to get me a fish so far shes on the yes factor thanks for all the usefull info i am writing a easy to convince her all the way my class is doing sience we get to take 1 fish home if its okay with your parents thanks alot

  29. same kind of goldfish in one tank they school together and live long time and grow mine are two and half long and fat

  30. im thinking of buying a calco goldfish and i was wondering if bowl is better than a tank for a gold fish!!!

  31. If you win a golfish at a fair, they are likely to die much sooner than a goldfish from a pet store.the reason they may die sooner is because fish from fairs, are kept with other fish and if the fish they are being kept with have diseases, they will get the diseases too.

  32. i just won 3 goldfish yesterday, but they died today.

  33. im getting 1 or 2 more tomorrow maybe and thank you. you really helped me.

  34. The reason you need 10 gallongs per fish, you bunch of cheap losers, is that a goldfish can get to be 8 inches long for a fancy one, or even like 16 inches long for a “fair” goldfish! Can you imagine how comfortable an 8 inch fish will be in a 5 inch widex 8 inch long BOWL? That’s like you living in an area the size of a half bed for your entire life. People tend not to beleive that they get that big, because 1 they start small and 2 the poor thing has been killed by neglect WAY before reaching it’s prime. 2 or 3 years is the lifespan of a BETTA ish, a Goldfish should EASILY reach 10 or 20 years. Yeah, 10 gallons for your little 1 inch baby fish is a LOT at first, but once he’s a 6 inch monster, he’ll be in just the right sized tank, you’ve just gotta be friggin patient. I’d rather spand the extra 40 bucks today than have to replace my “beloved” pet every week. Besides, if you don’t want to bother spending money to care for it right, DON’T GET ONE! that’s like getting a dog and not buying collars, leashes, toys or a food bowl for it.

  35. Seriouslyy why are people haveing stresses over bloody goldfish all you do is stick em in a big bowl feed it change its water and tadarr you can get cheapo bloody fish tanks from the range for£2 the food is more expensive than the bowl and fish!

  36. Im getting a fish he is going to be called Elvis.he is going to be 99p!!!!

  37. yall my goldfish had a spaz attack and he started breathing really heavy. what should i do?

  38. this is very cool

  39. For people who are wondering which is better for a goldfish, a tank, or a bowl? The answer if simple. A tank because it provides more space for the animal to grow, and be comfortable. Would you rather live in a small house or a large house? Same thing with goldfish. The more room they have to move, the more it mimics their wildlife environment. A water filter is a must, especially with goldfish because they produce lots of ammonia and nitrate. Filters help reduce this and keep their water cleaner. DO NOT USE TAPWATER!!!!!!!! It has chlorine and other chemicals in it. It is harmful for your fish! It would be like someone polluting your air. Use water conditioners it only costs like $3 and you put it in your tank and purifies the water. Please be more considerate for these fish. Yes, they are cheap. But they are alive and deserve just as much as any other living organism. If you aren’t responsible enough to keep these fish, Don’t get them.

  40. if you tap on the fish tank does that gie them a heart attack?

  41. hi my name is chloe and i want to get a fish! and i want it to live as long as possible!! so if anyone has any tips on taking care of a goldfish plz tell me!!! thanxz!

  42. thanks for all the info man

  43. you suck i have a shark

  44. Hello, fellow fish lovers! I have a comet Goldfish and he is over 4 yrs old, but just lately he lost all of his orange color! Is there something he is lacking in his diet. I have been mostly feeding him dried worms and pellets. I have flake food, should I increase it. For most of the last 6 months I know everyone mostly gives himm the pellets or the worms. He behaves normally in everyother way!

  45. Fish do need to be in sufficient sized tanks. In the wild they do not live in confined areas like bowls, they have the room to swim. I go against anyone who says its okay to keep a goldfish in a bowl.

  46. This REALLY helps I’m only ten and I just got a new goldfish everthing else I read isn’t much help… But the bowl for him is quite small.. But so is he! Should I get him a bigger bowl in a week or so? And Tai I read your info that helps more too! THANX ALOT YOU GUYS!

  47. I had gotten a new goldfish from the fair that i won and i didnt really know how to take care of it, but if it weren’t for the person who gave me it my fish would be dead already. If you get him in a bag then don’t put him right in the bowl, put whatever temprature the fish needs and put the water in the bowl without the fish in it, keep him in the bag and just place the bag in the bowl of water, but only keep them in over night, and then you can put them in your tank.

  48. I just got 3 new fish from a fair and they are fairly small. I got them a big bowl for them, probably the size of a soccer ball or more. It has really nice stuff like gravel and plants, but I’m just not quite sure it’s good enough for them. I really want them to live for a long time. So should I buy a tank right away or wait a little while longer?

  49. I won a goldfish at the fair, but he died that night. Ive always wanted one and i hopefully gonna get a new one. Ive read all the comments and found it really helpful. Im planning on keeping em in a bowl. I just dont know how big of a bowl to put them in. I want to get two or three. Any suggestions?

  50. goldfish DO need airpumps and/or filters as they will suffocate if their tank doesnt have enough oxygen running through it, and esspecially slow moving fish can fidn them selves in a stagnant tank very quickly

  51. Everyone who thinks 10 gallons is a mansion for a carnival goldfish, let’s consider something, shall we? Research “Common” and “Comet” Goldfish. These fish (”carnival prize fish”) get to be 24 or MORE inches long, if you take care of them. A 10 gallon aquarium is only 20 inches long, so even in 10 Gallons, it’s not enough. That’s like getting a dog crate for a puppy, yea, a great dane puppy is in a “mansion” if you buy him an adult sized crate, but no one in their right mind would say buy a puppy crate and make the dog stay in it it’s whole life. The reason your fish “never got that big” is because it DIED before it got to. A 5 year old fish is not “old” it’s just now old enough to BREED! That’s like a 15 year old human! No one would call a 15 year old, OLD, now would they? You people who think one goldfish in 10 gallons is insane, need to do your research before you look stupid to people who know better.

  52. hello, i just recently bought my friend two fish that look like goldish. the worker told me that they fish i bought are very aggressive and could potently eat other. she then suggested a 10+ lb tank with a filter. i bought my friend a .5 lb bowl. any suggestions?

  53. I got a gold fish two days ago, I’m not sure how frequently to change the water so i do it every day
    is that healthy for ” goldly”?
    And if he passes away what do about the whole child situation?

  54. this was ok advice

  55. This is by far the worst article I have read on goldfish care. I have three goldfish in a 46 gallon tank, and honestly, they need about 100 more gallons. Two of them I got from a carnival five years ago and they are both about 10 inches long. As far as cleaning the tank completly once a month, that is the worst thing to do, you are wiping out healthy bacteria colonies, but idiots wouldn’t understand that! If you get a goldfish, you need a MINIMUM of TEN GALLONS, period…and glodfish are cheap to buy, but they are definitly not cheap to take care of. I have seen many of my friends goldfish woth diseases that people think are just normal, they are not normal, goldfish are just hardy that doesnt mean they shouldn’t be medicated when their fins are rotting off!! I could go on for hours, oh yes one more thing, stop feeding flakes, it is bad for a goldfish to feed at the top of the tank because they suck in too much air with their food, feed them sinking pellets or fresh veggies and for the love of god do not feed them as much as they can eat in 5 min. I give my fish 5 pellets each*yes they go to their corners of the tank to eat haha* anyway, once a day is fine for a main meal, than a little snack if they are acting like they are starved(which they will do) ps..strong good EXPENSIVE filters are the way to go with goldfish, plus a 25 percent water change weekly with a little gravel vaccum weekly. change filter cartiges weelky or every other weeki have 2 penguin large filters going on my tank

  56. thanks for the tips my goldfish have a big tank

  57. hello! every one can some one tell me why does my fishi dies?
    from the past 2 months i’ve almost brought 15 fishes and they all died!!!!!
    if u have anything for asdvice please tell me!

  58. mine 2 samridha!
    but from the last three months i’ve brought 27! and if these 3 die it will be30!

  59. My boyfriend had a goldfish and it loaves in a bowl and it’s two years old.

  60. first year goldfish died because u used wrong method to take care ur goldfish i have 6 goldfish in a 10 gallon they survived more than 6 months and one of them got bigger about 3 inches and he still surviving so this what u do get a bigger tank have a filter for the size u got or getting than a air pump after 7 days clean it 100% and also feed them flakes or terafin twice a day

  61. If you have a goldfish in a bowl it can increase death. They need at least 10 gallons since they are the dirtiest fish. Also they can grow very large when properly cared for. If you take really good care of them they can live to be 50 years old. People at pet stores say that 2 goldfish in a 10 gallon is pushing it since they’re skin gives off a mucus that can kill other fish if there are too many in a tank. Also be sure not to over feed them or they will die. Check other website to get more info about them.

  62. How do i take care of my fish. how do u now if its a girl or boy.

  63. I recently rescued two goldfish after a Biology Lab that they were used for. I understand why a bowl is a bad habitat for them, but can it be made to work for a year until I can put them in a tank? My current landlord will not let me have an actual aquarium for fear of water damage. With careful maintainance (10% or so water change twice a week, or something to that effect) will they be ok in a bowl for about a year until I move somewhere that allows me to keep a tank? Does anyone have other suggestions about keeping them in a bowl for a limited length of time?

  64. I really can’t believe what i am reading here. This has to be the WORST goldfish article i have ever read. Goldfish are far from low maintenane and certainly do not belong in a bowl. They require a minimum on 20 gallons to thrive and not just survive. Your ignorance has offended me. Angie Wiggins, you are an idiot !

  65. Great article on how to kill a goldfish.
    If you can’t afford a large filtered tank or pond, then don’t torture the poor fish.

  66. …This is the WORST article on goldfish I have ever read… Goldfish can get a foot long and CANNOT, I repeat, CANNOT be kept in bowls! They also need strong filtration and all the proper care that other fish are entitled to. I see that many people have commented on how their goldfish have been dying. Well, the information given in this article is the EXACT reason why that keeps happening. Honestly, reading this article makes me very upset. If you’re going to have a pet, whether it be a goldfish, a dog, or a cat, YOU are responsible for making sure it is properly cared for! DON’T listen to a WORD that this article says.

  67. Worst article ever.. Been keeping fish for 14 years… Even keeping a betta in a bowl is inhumane… I have a 29 gallon 2 goldfish (medium size) and still change 50% water weekly (with 2 filters rated for 50 gallon tank)… Goldfish grow to 6 inches to a feet, they wont even fit in a bowl full grown.. Shame on the author

  68. I think…I think…I think… Too much ‘thinking’ going on without enough real knowledge. Goldfish are not for beginners, and certainly should not be kept in bowls. My goldies are more than a year old and swimming freely in 75 gallons of well-filtered water. Next year I might upgrade to 125 gallons, and I fully expect these guys to thrive for at least 10 years. If you’re going to get a pet, take care of it. No bowl. Uh-uh:(

  69. My mother kept our carnival ping pong goldfish alive in a goldfish bowl for 22 years. She included live plants and occasionally snails for the algae. She fed them flake food and nothing else. I don’t know if this is unusual, but the goldfish seemed happy to us.

  70. My mother kept our carnival ping pong goldfish alive in a goldfish bowl for 22 years. She included live plants and occasionally snails for the algae. She fed them flake food and nothing else. I don\’t know if this is unusual, but the goldfish seemed happy to us.

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